What Is the Big Creek Dams Improvement Project?

The Big Creek Dams are located within the City of Newport, on Oregon's Central Coast.

The Big Creek Dams: Troubled Water

Like many other cities in the western United States, the City of Newport places a priority on protecting our water supply. As of 2011 when city engineers discovered real threats to both Big Creek Dams structures, protecting this supply skyrocketed to the highest priority. Engineers found that the foundation material of these structures is unstable and may fail in the event of a moderate or major earthquake (3.0 or greater on the Richter Scale). Today, both Big Creek Dams have been elevated to the second and third most-critical, high-hazard dams in the State of Oregon.

Why Damn Stabilization is Critical to Protect Our Sole Water Supply

  • The Big Creek Reservoirs (created by the Big Creek Dams) are the single source of water for Newport, holding 1200 acre-feet of water or almost 400 million liquid gallons.
  • Daily water usage in the City ranges from 2.5 to 5 million gallons.
  • The existing reservoirs were built to support a community of 10,000 year-round residents; not the additional 2.5 million tourists that visit Newport each year.
  • The City is currently unable to store sufficient water to avoid critically low water levels during dry summer months when both tourism and water-use peak.
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